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Calgary Family Law Blog

Signs someone may be hiding money in a high asset divorce

When a marriage ends, former couples need to work toward a resolution with regard to their joint assets and liabilities. One of the things that can make this process difficult, particularly in a high asset divorce, is when one party attempts to hide assets. This can have serious legal, emotional and financial consequences, so many Alberta individuals going through a divorce are rightly on the lookout for signs that their spouse might have assets hidden. But, what signs should they be looking for, exactly?

One sign that a spouse may be hiding assets is overpayments to creditors or in tax payments. It is possible that someone may purposely overpay the Canada Revenue Agency or a creditor in hopes of getting a refund of the extra amount after the divorce is finalized. If money is taken out of accounts for bills, ask to see the bill amount owed to confirm that the amounts match up.

Considerations for wealthy women in a high asset divorce

The earning power and wealth of Canadian women is higher than ever, but what does that mean when it comes to marriage and divorce? A reported $2.2 trillion in assets are under the control of Canadian women at present, a number expected to double within the decade. There are several things wealthy women in Alberta should consider when tying and untying the knot in order to protect themselves in a high asset divorce.

A prenuptial agreement is a common consideration for wealthy women prior to marriage. It is important for spouses to agree on terms that align with the family structure they expect to create, and that the agreement is fair. For example, if both spouses intend to work, it can be considered fair for them to each keep their earnings separate. However, if only one will be working, this arrangement might be ruled as unfair in the case of divorce. Prenuptial agreements can also be used to protect family inheritances, businesses and gifts.

Balancing home and work in a complex asset divorce

It is no secret that divorces can be incredibly stressful. Maintaining healthy work is critical for overall financial well-being. Consistent income can be a factor in support and property division conflicts, particularly in a complex asset divorce. Here are some tips that Alberta workers and business owners can turn to when trying to find balance in their professional life during a trying personal time.

Maintaining boundaries between work and personal life can be critical in order to fully engage in work regardless of what is happening at home. Often, this means keeping an emotional support network outside of the office. While friendships at work are common, those going through a divorce should consider what steps they can take to leave certain personal issues at the front door when they come to work.

Spousal support among common divorce surprises

Even in a fairly amicable divorce, surprises and misconceptions can catch people off guard. Those undergoing the divorce mediation process in Alberta should be aware of some of the financial and legal issues that await them, such as the impact of spousal support and the challenges of disconnecting shared accounts. Here are some of the most common surprises for those who end a marriage.

While breadwinners tend to be aware and, even, comfortable with the concept of paying spousal support, the figure that leaves their household in the end may be a shock. This can be especially jarring when one's own expenses increase due to the divorce. For example, mobile phone family plans and insurance packages can become unavailable when a couple splits, while groceries for one can be more of a financial burden in some cases.

Managing finances during the family law process

A divorce can be challenging in many ways: emotional turmoil, family division, and financial stress to name a few. For the latter issue, it is a good idea to take steps to plan ahead with a rational mindset. Albertans going through the family law process can save themselves from serious financial problems down the road by following some simple but effective tips.

Early on in the divorce, it is important to create a post-divorce budget. Many couples who have been living together for a long period of time do not know how much it will cost for them to live alone. Large expenses to consider may include a new vehicle, new home and insurance. Everyday items like groceries should also be factored in. Finally, consider what may be left for retirement savings or other financial goals.

How compensation structure can impact child and spousal support

On the surface, declaring income for a divorce may seem relatively straight-forward. However, it often becomes a matter of far more than just presenting last year's tax return. For Alberta workers who must factor in commission, bonuses or even a job change, estimating and identifying income can become a challenge. It is important to consider how one's compensation structure could affect issues like child support, spousal support and division of assets.

One common thing people struggle with in divorces is the allocation of bonuses. If a bonus comes in after a divorce is finalized but represents the work done while the marriage was still active, it may still be considered joint property. Bonuses can put someone without savvy counsel in a bind, as opposing counsel can try to split it as marital property while also factoring it into child support. This is known as double counting and can be avoided with clear disclosure and legal support.

Understanding home ownership and property rights in a divorce

There are many contentious issues that can arise during a divorce. However, when it comes to property rights, the family home is often at the centre of most battles. While some divorcing couples in Alberta choose to simply sell the home and part ways, others may choose to keep it. Deciding who will retain ownership of the home if it is not sold can be tricky business.

Why might someone want to retain a family home in a divorce? One might be for the sake of the children; if one parent is retaining custody, that parent may wish to care for the children in the original family home to avoid disruption. Emotional attachment to the home, investment potential, or even pride can also impact the decision. In any case, either party in a divorce does have a right to pursue sole ownership of the home.

Grey divorce raises complex asset division issues for many

When couples have been together for a long time and have built their lives as a unit, splitting assets can be tricky business. The rise of so-called "grey divorce" in Canada has also given rise to questions about complex asset division, as many of these splits are anything but straight-forward. Here is what Alberta individuals and couples should know about this growing trend, and what it can mean for the financial future of both parties.

Divorce in Canadians aged 65 plus was 12% in 2014, a stark increase from the 4% rate only a few decades prior. More recently, Pew Research cited the divorce rate among those 50 and older in the neighbouring United States had grown 109% between 1990 and 2015. This trend has given rise to many questions, not the least of which is whom to ask for financial support. After all, many couples share a financial advisor who has historically been helping them work towards shared goals.

Travelling without children during a family law dispute

Going on vacation can be a great way to relieve stress. Many Alberta individuals in the midst of a family law proceeding wish they could book a getaway, but there are legal considerations before jetting off. This is particularly true of those with children; even if the children are not coming on the trip, details like custody and legal ramifications should be considered. In most cases, waiting until after the family law dispute has concluded is the best option for those who wish to travel.

When going through a family law proceeding, it is important that children, the former partner and, in some cases, legal representatives can contact one another at all times. Not being reachable can lead to missed court dates or the inability to sign or review important documents. While a lawyer can represent a client in court without that client being in the country, availability is important in order to review all documents involved in the process to move things along.

Set boundaries and rules to protect kids from child custody drama

One of the biggest concerns parents have during a divorce is protecting their children's mental health and well-being. Decisions about child custody and support have real consequences for children, and in almost all cases a breakup between parents will mean major life changes for the children involved. One paradigm Alberta parents can use when approaching parenting during a divorce is to consider the children's "rights."

Experts suggest agreeing to several basic "rights for children of divorce" in order to guide behaviour throughout and after a breakup. First on the list is the right to be protected from anger toward the other parent and the right to love and be loved by both parents. Children should also be told clearly that the divorce is not their fault, and to be given straightforward and up-to-date information about their schedule.

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